Zim tourism less competitive: WEF report

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BERNARD MPOFU

Zimbabwe’s tourism industry was on Wednesday ranked as one of the least competitive in the world after it came out 114 out of 140 economies on the World Economic Forum Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report.

Spain was the top-ranked economy while Yemen was at the tailsend.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa is joining over 1000 global leaders, start-up founders, development experts artists and innovators who are in Cape Town, South Africa for the World Economic Forum (WEF)-Africa meetings.

One of the key highlights of these meetings is the Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Index which ranks competitiveness of the tourism sector in over 100 economies. 

Published under the theme of “Travel and Tourism at a Tipping Point”, the report’s results demonstrate the healthy growth of the industry, with increased competitiveness worldwide set against the slower improvement and adoption rates of necessary infrastructure and sustainable tourism management practices respectively.

Covering 140 economies, the Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index measures the set of factors and policies that enable the sustainable development of the travel and tourism sector, which contributes to the development and competitiveness of a country.

The Travel and Tourism Competitive Index captures the general conditions necessary for operating in a country: business environment; safety and security; health and hygiene; ICT readiness; prioritisation of travel and tourism; international openness; price competitiveness; environmental sustainability; air transport infrastructure; ground and port infrastructure; tourist service infrastructure; natural resources and cultural resources and business travel.

The report shows that Zimbabwe highest ranking in the different categories was  44 out of 140 on the natural resources pillar. The country performed badly in other pillars.

Last month Finance minister Mthuli Ncube said government is currently pursuing the ease of doing business reforms as part of broad measures on enhancing the country’s investment environment and external competitiveness.

In 2018, according to the World Tourism Organisation, the number of international tourist arrivals worldwide reached 1.4 billion, two years before it was predicted to do so. That year also marked the seventh year in a row where the growth in tourism exports (+4%) exceeded the growth in merchandise exports (+3%). Given this rapid pace of growth, the prediction that international arrivals will reach 1.8 billion by 2030 may be conservative.

This, according to the WEF presents enormous potential for the sector and economies globally as travel is further democratised. Emerging economies are contributing larger proportions of travellers to this global trend and are becoming increasingly desirable as destinations as they show greater competitiveness in travel and tourism.